Mysteries of the Godhead
THE TREMENDOUS TRUTH
CONCERNING OUR HEAVENLY FATHER
As an investigator involved in theomatics research, many people have asked me over the years what understanding I have come to concerning the subject of the "Trinity," or the formation of the Godhead. The following will discuss this subject, and without elaborating on specific theomatic/numerical structures, the conclusions that I have arrived at.
* * *
Over time as I have performed theomatics research, and invested much thought into these matters, some marvelous truths have become apparent concerning our heavenly Father. I had asked the Holy Spirit to open up to me the full meaning of the Father. I found myself consumed with a burning desire to understand and know more about my heavenly Father. Many Christian people tend to place emphasis more upon Jesus (which is something all of us should no doubt do). But in reading the Bible one cannot underestimate the importance and significance of—as Jesus taught us to pray, "Our Father which art in heaven ..." In fact, the Father is specifically mentioned over 300 times in the New Testament alone. That fact is proof that we are dealing here with a subject of absolute major importance. As Christians, we dare not underestimate the importance and significance of the Father.
But how does one balance out the significance of Jesus with the significance of the Father? What is the difference between them? Is it even possible to distinguish between the two? Are they two different people? Theologians have wrestled with these sorts of questions for centuries. This is no doubt a deep, profound, and what has often been called, "mysterious" subject. Yet it is an issue that we must approach before God in absolute humility of heart and willingness to learn about. For it is here, that there are some tremendous truths to be revealed.
It All Starts With Jesus
In order to obtain any correct understanding of who God the Father is, one must first come to know Jesus. He is the One who was "in the beginning with God" (John 1:1)—the Bible teaches us that He is the very Word of God. "All things were created by Him, through Him, and for Him" (Colossians 1:16).
One of the foundational principles of Christianity, is the doctrine of the Absolute Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a primary truth that separates Christianity from every other belief system. Mormonism and the Jehovah Witnesses both deny the Supreme Divinity of Christ—as well as every other false cult. For fundamental Bible believing Christians, Jesus is absolute Divinity. There is no higher Being in the entire universe (Philippians 2:10). Quite literally Jesus IS God. For it was He who stated, "I and the Father are One" (John 10:30). "He that hath seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9). It is significant to note, that the prophet Isaiah, when he prophesied concerning the birth of Christ— "unto us a Child is given," referred to Jesus Himself as being "The Everlasting Father" (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus Personally is the incarnation of the Jehovah God (YAHWEH) of the Old Testament
Beings that Jesus is Divine, we must also consider His conscious side or human side as well. For Jesus is not only God, but He is also man. God is a Spirit, the Heavenly Father is a Spirit, and the physical Jesus that we see is the "man" or visible portion of God’s being. In fact, it was impossible for God to have redeemed fallen man, unless He Himself became a man (1 Timothy 2:5). For this reason, the Great and Eternal Jehovah, the Ancient of Days, the Great I AM, became a man and was born a little baby in a manger, in order that He might save fallen man from his sins. Redemption would have been impossible any other way. Therefore as Mediator, Jesus is both God and man. This fact is amazingly significant.
We now come to a very interesting and fascinating paradox. In light of the above Scriptures, Jesus who is Divine and quite literally God, makes some incredible and seemingly paradoxical statements. Please study the following verses. In these verses The Bible teaches us that Jesus has no authority except as it has been DELEGATED to Him by the Heavenly Father.
"But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.’ Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because... [He] said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God" (John 5:17,18).
"Then Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner’" (John 5:19).
"I can of myself do nothing... I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me" (John 5:30).
" ... you will know that I am, and I do nothing of Myself, but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things" (John 8:28).
"Jesus answered, ‘If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is my Father who honors Me" (John 8:54).
"If this man were not from God, He could do nothing" (John 9:33).
And lastly, consider this verse, where Jesus right after His resurrection, refers to His Father as being his own personal God.
"Jesus said to her (Mary Magdalene), ‘Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God’" (John 20:17).
Jesus came and died on the cross, giving up His own life as the ultimate sacrifice. This eternal sacrifice on His part had only one objective purpose—to sacrifice His own life to the Father, and in that process bring all who put their trust in Him to God the Father, making His Father our Father, and His God our God. (Note: The entire chapter of John Chapter 17 expresses that fact in the most eloquent loving way).
The Puzzling Question
Now here is the interesting question. How can God Himself limit Himself? How can Jesus who is actual and literal God, be helpless? How is it possible that God in and of Himself, can be incapacitated without help from a higher power, if He Himself is the Highest power possible (which of course Jesus is)?
This is the incredible paradox of the Godhead. Jesus as God is equal with God, the same as God, and quite literally God. But scripture indicates that He is helpless without God. How can this be? Understanding this fact can lead us to draw some significant conclusions.
Let’s First Do a Survey
Before continuing our discussion, let us do a survey of Bible believing Christians, and ask them to give us a correct definition of the Heavenly Father. What would they say to us? A friend of mine in Nashville, Tennessee, has done just that. Over a period of time, he surveyed numerous Christians and asked them to describe to him what they see on the other side when they pray to the Father. Here are just a few of their reactions and comments.
- A gentle grandfatherly figure with long flowing robes, a long white or gray beard, long gray hair, and a deep voice.
- A loving grandfather type who smiles as he observes children laughing and at play around him.
- An older man with very gentle eyes. His hands also being gentle, but firm, confident, strong and assuring.
- A stately figure behind the scenes who is secretive and perhaps never visible. Yet he is in command of the universe. He does not speak audibly except through His Son Jesus.
- Some sort of a being hidden behind a veil or barrier who communicates only through a loud speaker. When approaching his vicinity, people tip toe very carefully and are very quiet.
- Like the wizard of Oz. He makes it all happen but is hidden behind the curtain.
- The statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial
- Some sort of a ghost or spiritual being that is totally invisible, but with whom Jesus communicates in secret.
- He sits on a big throne in heaven and Jesus sits on another throne next to him.
In virtually every instance that people were questioned, they always pictured heaven as a literal physical place and the Father as a literal physical person. Every response involved in some way physical imagery. Yet every answer was different. In the final analysis, everyone seemed a little uncertain and confused, and more or less admitted that they did not fully understand or know for sure what the heavenly Father was.
The Godhead does not Consist of "Three Persons"
Over the centuries, theologians have tried to devise many ways and means to grasp and understand the subject of the Godhead.
A most popular concept among Christians is "trinitarianism," i.e. the idea that there is One God, but that He consists of three different individual "persons." It is argued that even though God is "divisible" into three individuals or personages, they are of such agreement, that these three persons compose One God. Numerous examples have been given to illustrate this. An egg consists of a shell, egg white, and a yolk, yet all three comprise one egg, i.e. One God.
When examined carefully, we will see that this is an impossibility. It is inconceivable and impossible for there to be only One God consisting of three persons or three separate/independent/conscious living beings.
Arthur Pink, a Trinitarian, correctly defines from the Trinitarian viewpoint, what constitutes a "person."
"A person... implies the nature and substance in whom one exists. A person is an individual that subsists and lives of itself, endowed with will and understanding, who is neither sustained by, nor is part of another (bold mine). Such is the Father a Person; such is the Son, therefore a person; such is the Holy Spirit, therefore a person."
This author has tremendous respect for Arthur Pink, who was voluminous student of the Word and a great man of God (died 1952 in Scotland). Yet he is dead wrong in the above assessment. As we will soon see, this popular concept of a Trinity, or a God consisting of three persons (who are "neither sustained by, nor part of another"), is quite untrue and a huge misconception, one which is only assumed from scripture, but nowhere directly taught and distinctly set forth in scripture. It is an il fated attempt of carnal man (no doubt in sincerity and respect for God’s Word) —trying to understand on the physical plane truths that are spiritual, heavenly, and eternal, and also contain deep spiritual and symbolic meaning. Let us examine the logic of why it is impossible for God to consist of three separate and distinct persons, or individuals.
First of all, we must bear in mind that the Bible teaches from cover to cover, that there exists only One God—who created all things. The Bible nowhere teaches the idea that there are three God’s. Nor does the Bible teach that there is One God consisting of three separate and individual people. There exists only One conscious living God.
A man is a conscious being. He sees things. He judges things. He makes decisions. He has opinions. He has ideas. Without conscious existence and independence, a man would cease to be a man. In essence, consciousness is what makes a person a person. The fact that I have an independent degree of consciousness and you have an independent degree of consciousness, is what makes us different people or personages. Again, as Arthur Pink correctly states, a person "is neither sustained by, nor part of another." As we shall see, this correct definition and notion of three separate and distinct conscious personalities—comprising One God—destroys any possibility of harmony in the Godhead, that is, a God consisting of three separate and independent persons.
Because a man has individuality, that is precisely why he is imperfect and can fail so easily. It is just because he is a conscious being and not part of another. His individual consciousness is susceptible to error and false conclusions. This inherence is the source of all sin and failure. Having a conscious existence and individuality can lead straight to sin (only a dead person cannot sin—Rom 6:2). And this individuality aspect is a defect that God cannot have or else He would cease to be God.
Understanding this can therefore bring us to a very interesting question. Is the Heavenly Father, the Father of Jesus, a conscious living being? A man/being of some sort with an individual personality separate from Jesus? Are the Father and Jesus two separate and individual persons, i.e. personalities? In reading the gospels, we find that Jesus is an individual who has feelings and emotions, ideas and opinions, etc. That fact and aspect is what makes him human (as the son of man).
But the important question here is this. Is God the Father therefore a similar individual, a separate consciousness apart from Jesus? Let us keep in mind here that if we answer this question in the affirmative, then that means that we then are dealing with two separate persons (or trinitarianism). I believe the answer is No. And I will explain why.
The word "conscious" in the dictionary is defined as follows:
1. Having a feeling or knowledge (of one’s sensations, feelings, etc., or external things); knowing or feeling (that something is or was happening or existing); aware; cognizant. 2. Able to feel and think; awake. 3. aware of oneself as a thinking being, knowing what one is doing and why. 4. painfully aware of oneself; self-conscious; embarrassed. Accompanied by an awareness of what one is thinking, feeling, and doing; intentional.
Certainly the above definition applies to every human being, including Jesus. Our consciousness is what makes us human. It is the VERY source of our being. Apart from it we would cease to even exist. Only spiritual beings (such as invisible angels and demons in the spiritual dimension with "spirit" bodies) and men in the flesh, can have individual consciousness.
God by Himself Cannot be a Person
Here now is a very interesting question to ponder. If you or I were to sit down with some being in the universe (in this case we shall call that being "God"), no matter how wise or intelligent that person may be, what would make him more God than you or me? What would give any personage authority—as a conscious living being—the right to tell me (another personage and conscious living being) right from wrong or good from evil? What would make that individual qualify to be "God" and Lord over me and the determiner of my fate? Are not my opinions and ideas just as valid as his?
Saying this bluntly. If God was a person, then I would have just as much right to declare myself God as that other person. Why not?
The fact that this so called being may have existed before me (and right now knows more than me), and may have actually created me in the first place, is totally irrelevant—those factors by themselves cannot make Him God. (Do your own kids think that you are always right just because you "created" them and you existed before they did ???).
All of this would be impossible, because no individual person has any more authority than any other. Jesus, who was God in the flesh, proved that fact when certain individuals (the scribes and Pharisees to be specific) vehemently disagreed and debated righteousness with the very Creator Himself, when He walked upon this earth. The very Creator himself got slapped across the face, spit on, and finally hung in a pitiful manner on a cross to die. All because other people thought they knew more than He did.
The truth of the matter is that there is no being anywhere in the universe—as an individual person—who could so qualify himself, so that any decision he made would be absolutely correct (no matter how myself or others may feel or see things). What person living on earth today, or even in heaven, could one declare to be 100% perfect in every particular, so that their opinion was always 100% flawless 100% of the time? They never make a bad judgment. Everything they say or do is perfect. There obviously is no such person. Even the highest scientists, the highest politicians, the highest pope, have people who will readily disagree with them and see things different.
So what the above analogy is telling us, is the fact that no conscious being, in and of himself, could ever qualify to be God. No one! No being on earth. No being in heaven. Not even Jesus the man. As we shall soon see, in order for anyone to qualify to be God, they must posses some sort of INHERENT OBJECTIVISM that transcends all personality and consciousness. What that essentially means is that God could never be a personal being who has personal ideas and opinions, or else He would be arbitrary. And if God was arbitrary, He would be no different than you or I, and He would IMMEDIATELY cease to be God.
It is on this very point that the entire theology of Mormonism falls apart. Mormonism does not believe in one single deity over the entire universe—in the Book of Mormon all God's are portrayed as men of flesh and bones. A famous Mormon leader once made this statement. "As man is, God once was. As God is [now], man may become." Mormons believe that the universe has evolved into billions of "man-gods," all who once were lowly men who eventually worked their way up the ladder of perfection and becoming "gods." Mormons consider themselves "god’s in embryo." Mormon couples who marry in the temple expect to some day have "celestial sex" and bear children as they become individual gods and populate their own planets somewhere out in the universe of stars—thus becoming the breeders of many more potential man/gods. Endlessly.
Mormons also believe that when Joseph Smith had his first vision as a fourteen year old boy, two men in physical bodies appeared before him. One was a younger man (Jesus) standing next to an older man with a long beard (his "heavenly father" Elohym). According to Mormon doctrine, his two oldest sons were Jesus and Lucifer (who later became the devil and Satan).
The fact of the matter is that if this were true—a universe full of billions of Gods—the end result would be total chaos. STAR WARS would be the result. It would be one constant uprising and overthrow after another—endlessly!
This proves that no conscious beings or men could ever become God in and of themselves. No man can ever be God, only as a man or created personage. That is why Jesus as a man (a man by himself) is not God, nor could He ever be God—just as a man. Rather Jesus is BOTH God and man. It is the fact that: (1) He is a man or conscious Being who created all things according to the eternal principle, and (2) that He has 100% of Father God dwelling inside of him, that gives Him his Divinity and authority. For He is not capable of doing anything outside the authority of His heavenly Father. That fact is going to be our key in understanding whom the Father is.
Right now Jesus is the only Being in the universe holding the title of the "Only Begotten Son of God." That means that He is God's EXCLUSIVE standard. He is the ONLY Begotten from the Father, the FIRSTBORN Son. His origin is not earthly but Heavenly. For this very reason He is the ONLY possible source of salvation and the only way we can ever understand God. He is our very SOURCE of life and the Source of the Holy Spirit (Joh 20:22).
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).
Comment: There is only one archangel mentioned in the Bible, i.e. "Michael the archangel." The expression "arch" means the "very highest," and apparently there is only one of them. (Gabriel is never referred to as an archangel). Many scholars have referred to Michael as representative of Jesus or "the archangel of the Son." There is some validity to that argument. Michael may even be a theophanies.
The Fall in the Garden
For this very reason, all of man’s attempts at attaining to godhood by his own good deeds or bootstraps, or personal ideas, is not only ridiculous and absurd, but blasphemous as well.
When Lucifer the king of Babylon fell (symbolic of Adam—see Chapter 5f of Angelfall), it was only because as a created personage and being, he took it upon himself to try and become God. The serpent promised our first parents that if they partook of the forbidden fruit, their eyes would be opened, and they themselves could then determine good from evil. In fact, the serpent told Eve that God was trying to hide from her this fact, and if she and Adam would eat the fruit they would actually then become "like God, knowers ..." At that very juncture in time, the religion of humanism was born and entered the universe (creature over Creator superiority), and from that time onwards man has always believed the poison that as a created being, he could determine right from wrong. That is the "original sin." Every evil that now exists stems from that one sin. It is the origin of devils.
As a fallen sinner, man AS AN INDIVIDUAL wants to believe that he is self sufficient, that the center of the universe revolves around him—that he has WITHIN HIMSELF, the capacity and strength to determine right from wrong and good from evil.
And that is the major stumbling block—why most people do not become Christians. They don’t want to surrender their intellect to Someone else. One of the cornerstones of new age thought, is that we can discover God by looking inside ourselves. That is the serpent's lie.
Yet becoming a Christian is really a very simple matter. It is telling God, with an honest and open heart, that He knows more than we do and that all of us are dependent on Him for both knowledge and strength. That is why Jesus said, "except ye turn (repent) and become as a child, by no means may ye enter into the kingdom of heaven." What is significant about a child? A child is a dependent. It recognizes that it needs help, guidance, direction. It is weak and cannot make it on its own. A true child is humble. As sheep, we need a Shepherd to guide and protect us. That is why Jesus is constantly portrayed in the Bible as being our shepherd.
God is Not a Man
The Bible teaches that God is not a man. "For God is not a man that He should lie" (Numbers 23:19). A man or human is perfectly capable of lying, but God cannot lie, for the Bible tells us very specifically that God is not a man (or an individual person). The Father is a Spirit, and those that worship Him can only do so in spirit. A true spirit cannot lie, because as I will try to point out, a spiritual truth (not a spiritual being) cannot have independent consciousness, opinions, or personal ideas.
A very interesting verse of Scripture is this: "No one hath seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him" (John 1:18). In fact, throughout the Old Testament, it was brought forth many times that man could not look at God and live. He would be instantly zapped.
Even Moses could not look at the face of Jehovah, but only saw his "hinder parts." When he came down from the mountain, the people could not even bear looking at the face of Moses because of its brilliance. Moses had to cover his face in God's presence.
From the above verse in John, the King James reads, "No man hath seen God ..." But in the original Greek, the word "man" is not present. The Greek word is OUDEIS (ïõäåéò). It means quite literally that no one, no being, absolutely nothing at all has ever seen God. I believe that this includes all the angels and even Lucifer/Adam before the fall.
Yet Jesus, the Only Begotten Son, has seen God the Father. Jesus did exist in bodily form prior to His birth in Bethlehem. Perhaps when the angels appeared before the Lord Jehovah in the book of Job (and the accusing spirit Satan was among them), it was Jesus Himself that he presented himself to. In the Old Testament, Jesus appeared bodily to Abraham with two angels, and to Moses on Mount Sinai, and also in the fiery furnace in the book of Daniel. He is quite literally the Jehovah of the Old Testament. This physical manifestation of Christ before His birth in Bethlehem, is called by theologians as "the Theophanies."
Yet Jesus is the only One who has ever truly seen God in the fullest and absolute sense. And it is only through Jesus that any man can ever hope to know anything about God, because quite literally Jesus is both totally God (uncreated eternal aspect) and totally man (created conscious aspect). It is impossible for angels to know God in the same sense or to the same degree that Jesus does, or that redeemed and saved men will someday (even now) know Him (see 1 Peter 1:12).
Another Crucial Issue
Another very interesting issue to consider in this discussion is the following. Most Christians, even trinitarians, do not believe that when they get to heaven, they will ever see a being or person called the Father. Yet most all Christians believe that the Father is indeed an individual person with independent will and consciousness, but He has no visible body and is some sort of invisible "spirit being" floating around out there somewhere. If we stop and analyze this, it does not make any sense whatsoever. It is completely nonsensical. In fact, it is absurd.
One of the foundational principles of being a person, is that we are able to enjoy fulfillment in our existence—the ability to express oneself. For this to be possible we must have sense organs such as sight, hearing, touch—a body that can both see and be seen by others, and so on. In order to enjoy our existence as persons and be fulfilled, we must have some sort of VEHICLE or medium or body in which to express ourselves and our individual consciousness, and also relate or fellowship with others of like kind.
Even though demons possess some sort of spiritual body in another dimension (they can undoubtedly "see" one another and communicate), the Bible explicitly tells us that they are restless wandering spirits. That is the major reason they want to possess human bodies, they need an "outlet" for expressing themselves.
So then, if the heavenly Father was some sort of invisible spirit being that no one could ever directly see or communicate with in a visible/tangible way, He would be the most lonely and unfulfilled being imaginable unless He possessed a body of some sort. That is a logical reason why the Father could never be just an invisible spirit floating around in space. The visible Father is Jesus, and the Father can only visibly manifest himself through His Son (and us as well). Jesus is the express person of the Fatherhood—the fullness of the Godhead. That is why Jesus could state with accuracy, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." And in Isaiah 9:6 Jesus is specifically named or called "the everlasting Father."
Who then is the Father?
Therefore, if Jesus is the only Person in the Godhead, this now leads us back to the BIG question: Who is the Father? What is the Father? If the Father was a separate Being (even a Spiritual Being with a spiritual body), then He (the Father) would be God and not Jesus. Since Jesus is the highest Being possible, then I do not believe there can be any other separate consciousness. Jesus alone is the conscious portion of the Godhead. He (along with His Holy Spirit—see John 20:22) is the only Person in the Godhead. Who then and what then is the Father? Here now is the definition.
The Father is the Law and Constitution of the Universe. The Father is Absolute Objective Truth. The father is all Knowledge. The Father is all Wisdom. The Father is Light. The Father is Love. The Father is a consuming fire (destroys everything that is impure). The Father is simply that which is Immutable, Impregnable, above and beyond everything else. THE FATHER IS THE ONLY BASIS FOR ETERNAL LIFE (1 John 1:2 and John 5:26) The Father is 100% Male. The Father is that very "Being" or existence that cannot be created, or destroyed, or changed, altered or improved upon. He is Eternal—always was and forever will be. The Father encompasses all laws of every sort as well as every truth. This would include first and foremost mathematical laws, laws of cause and effect, laws of nature, laws that govern the spiritual dimensions, even "millions" of laws and principles that men or angels are not even aware of and which perhaps have never yet been revealed. The Father encompasses the total knowledge of, and distinction between good and evil. THE FATHER IS ALL TRUTH DISTINCT FROM CONSCIOUSNESS OR PERSONAGE OR PERSONAL BIASED OPINION. The Father comprises all Divine laws, operative principles, foundational eternal truths, etc. that have been worked out (discovered and defined) within the Godhead, over perhaps "billions of years." All of this knowledge has been locked up within the very Godhead itself, of which Jehovah (Jesus Himself), was a part of from the very beginning (John 1:2). Jesus Himself created everything that exists in the heavenlies, in fact, the very universe itself! The Bible declares that Christ created the heavens (the Big Bang!), but He did so only according to the will of the Father. This knowledge that comes only from the Father, is absolute and complete, and the Lord Jesus Christ is the only Conscious Living Being that holds all the keys to it AND FULLY UNDERSTANDS IT. Jesus does absolutely nothing apart from the will of the Father. He is totally yielded to the Father. In that sense, as Isaiah 9:6 declares, Jesus IS the Father.
Since every truth in the cosmos and every law in the cosmos is fixed and predetermined, every last bit of it resides in Jesus and His Divine character. Jesus the man does not move or do anything outside of the Father, for it is He who said "the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees (observes) the Father do." But then Jesus turns around and says, "I am the Truth." Absolute truth can only be found in God. And absolute truth can only be found in Jesus, because 100% of the Spirit of God dwells in the man Christ Jesus. That is why we as Christians can worship both Jesus and the Father simultaneously as One God.
The Father is not a Judge
An interesting verse is John 5:22. It states, "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son." What this provides is further confirmation that the Father is NOT a person as such, simply because He does not (or cannot) make judgment calls. Only a person is capable of evaluating and judging and executing a matter, and that is why all judgment is in the hands of Jesus Himself who IS a conscious living being. However He always judges not according to His own will or His own desires, but according to the eternal principle of the Father (Joh 5:30 and 8:16).
Another point related to this is the story of the prodigal son. No matter how bad the rebellious son had been, the father held no resentment or reservations against His child—He was always willing to welcome Him back with open arms. This too shows a neutral and non-judgmental spirit. A person might have been angry and upset and bitter at the younger son's rebellion and dissipating life style. But the Father (not a conscious being with feelings of resentment), easily forgave him and even kissed him, and then forgave the matter (obviously symbolical) when the son finally turned his life around and did the right thing. The beauty of that is that the Father will ALWAYS forgive if one is willing to repent and submit to the eternal principle.
The Father is Essence
Another way of defining the heavenly Father, is the word "essence." The father is the ultimate essence. The word essence means,
1. Something that is, or exists; an entity. 2. The mental nature of something; the very essential being, 3. Substance that keeps in concentrated form, the flavor, fragrance, or other properties of the plant, drug, food, etc., from which it is extracted. 4. In philosophy, the inward nature of anything, underlying its manifestations; the true substance.
The Law and Constitution
Perhaps a human way of explaining all this is with the following analogy. The government of society is ruled by laws. Men write these laws based upon logic. These include laws such as "thou shalt not steal," and "thou shalt not kill," and "you must always stop at a red light." It would not be fair to call these laws persons or consciousness. They are very impersonal. They are simply printed matter in books. The laws of the land do not have feelings, or emotions, or opinions. They are simply truth. To steal or kill is bad. It hurts people. It destroys society and lives. Men cannot exist in peace unless these laws are kept.
Similarly, the president of the United States has no power or authority simply as a man. His authority is vested in him by the constitution and the vote of the people. When he takes his oath, he swears to uphold and protect the constitution. The reason our forefathers wrote this document, was so that we as a society would have a governing basis of objectivity. Otherwise the government would be ruled by a king and demigod, who could be totally arbitrary in his decision making and judgments. A dictator in a third world country can summarily execute a person simply for political reasons or for even uttering "an insult."
Another illustration could perhaps be this. In order to protect the interests and assets of individuals, the government allows a business entity to be created called a "corporation." A corporation is actually recognized under the law as a separate and individual "person" in all legal matters and transactions. For all practical purposes, it is considered an "individual." Yet no one would claim that it is an actual human being.
Similar to the constitution and a corporate entity, God’s creation and God's kingdom must be based upon a foundation of objectivity, not on feelings or emotions. A conscious living person cannot so qualify, because he is by nature arbitrary and subjective. That is why Jesus, as a conscious living person, had to surrender his individuality and personality to the will of the Father, i.e. to a "Higher objective Authority." And certainly no less can be expected of us.
The Father is NOT Impersonal
Although, all the above descriptions and definitions are perhaps not a perfectly fitting analogy, the heavenly Father could be similarly described. The major difference, is that with the heavenly Father, the laws with Him incorporate the entire realm of truth and wisdom, so that they take on in a certain sense of meaning and intimacy, something far more personal than what any law book on this earth that governs man, could ever provide. Jesus was birthed by His Father. He is a carbon copy of Him. He lives and dies unto the Father. He loves the Father and the Father loves Him. He even laid down His own life and became sin for us, that He might bring us to His Father. When Jesus was crucified, his most agonizing torment was not the stripes or the nails—it was being forsaken by His Father—while he hung there on the cross between heaven and earth.
Therefore, if the Father is not a conscious living being or a person as such, how can one describe Him in such loving and endearing terms? How can one feel emotional waves of love for something that essentially has no life? To look at God simply as "a law" or "constitution," or some inanimate "invisible force," would seem to many as cold and impersonal. But this is not the case. A really good illustration, is when at times people have said the pledge of allegiance and looked up at the American flag—with tears streaming down their face. They love their country and what it stands for. And their emotions show the love that they feel. But they are not at all having a sentimental relationship with a person of any kind—they are worshipping an entity or essence that has real substance and meaning to them, and that is why they cry when singing "my country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty…"
In fact, in John 6:57, Jesus referred to His heavenly Father as being a "Living Father." The Bible teaches us that God the Father has a will (John 5:30). He even spoke (symbolically) as "a voice from heaven" when Jesus was baptized by John in the river Jordan (Matthew 3:17). The Bible teaches us that God the father cares for us (Matthew 10:29), he feeds us (Matthew 6:26), he clothes us (Matthew 6:30), he pities us (Luke 15:20), he loves us (1 John 2:15), and he corrects us (Hebrews 12:6). And when we talk to Him in prayer He will listen to us and answer us, for we are His children. In that sense He is a truly caring, vibrant, living, and very personal Father. These are the words that Jesus spoke to Mary Magdalene right after he came out of the tomb.
"Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God" (John 20:17).
Stating it as simply as possible, the Father is nothing but 100% pure love and goodness.
Perhaps the final solution to this whole enigma can be found in the book of Proverbs.
The Parallel of Wisdom
In the entire chapter of Proverbs 8, wisdom is found speaking. She speaks in the first person throughout.
"The Lord possessed me from the beginning of His way, Before His works of old. I have been established from everlasting, From the beginning, before there was ever an earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth ... Before the hills, I was brought forth; while as yet He had not made the earth or the fields ... then I was beside Him as a master craftsman; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him" (portions of verses 22-30).
Certainly no one would say that the attribute of wisdom is a "master craftsman" in the literal physical sense, i.e. an individual person with personality and consciousness who builds things. Yet the Bible teaches us that God created the earth with wisdom as His builder. Listen to the following endearing terms that are ascribed to her.
"Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom. Exalt her and she will promote you; She will bring you honor when you embrace her. She will place on your head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory she will deliver you (Proverbs 4:7-9). "Say unto wisdom, You are my sister" (Proverbs 7:9).
From the above, wisdom is described (if you take the Bible literally) as a physical or biological sister. Wisdom can be exalted and actually promoted (just like a person). She can be physically embraced. She can physically place an ornament and crown upon ones head.
Again, it should be obvious to anyone, that wisdom is not a person. It does not have consciousness. Wisdom is a spiritual entity and attribute. Yet God in the Bible describes wisdom in physical terms—a woman!
The question I would therefore propose is this. Cannot the Heavenly Father be described in a similar way? If God uses human terms to describe wisdom as a woman, which is obviously not a real conscious personage, why cannot the same human terms be used to describe all spiritual truth and objectivity as being a very real and personal Father? If God takes the attribute of wisdom and makes it into a personage so that we can more fully understand its nature, why cannot Jesus use the same principle and make God (all objective and absolute truth) his heavenly Father?
I believe that the following illustration, although not perfect, is a wonderful example of how the godhead functions. I have shared the following with a number of people who have been greatly blessed.
The Example of the Internet
The Internet or world wide web is a huge conglomeration of literally tens of thousands of computers (or servers) all tied and linked together—into a massive system or network. Its layout is not too much unlike a big spider web, and that is why it is called "the web." The amount of data that is store on the Web is humongous.
Now let us imagine that the Internet or world wide web represents the heavenly Father. And all the data and information stored on the web represents all the eternal truth that exists in the universe.
Since all this data sits in cold storage on the hard drives of thousands of computers, it contains no life and is therefore not practical or functional. In fact, it just lays there dormant. There is no way of even knowing what information is stored in this massive database.
So in order for any of this to benefit me, I must have a way of accessing the data and visibly seeing it. And that is accomplished by me getting in my car, going down to the local computer store, and purchasing a compatible PC and monitor. And what does my computer and monitor represent? It represents Jesus the Son.
The computer that I buy is totally compatible with the Internet System. It contains a processor and data bus that is identical and totally compatible with all the computers on the world wide web. In fact, it is a carbon copy of them. It must be able to "shake hands" with them and think exactly like they think. If it doesn’t, the system will not work.
So now I hook up my computer and when I turn it on and look at the monitor, what do I see? I see Jesus! In fact, I have no way of accessing the truth on the Web (or knowing anything for that matter about God), unless I look to Jesus as my source. When I see the monitor and all the data that comes off line, I can only do so through Jesus. As I surf God’s eternal web, I can know nothing about Him—unless it comes through the computer and monitor. Likewise, I can never know God or truth except through the "one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5). For He alone is the visible Son (offspring) of God.
Now we come to the most important part of this picture. Let us suppose that the entire world wide web was perfectly in place, all wired together, hooked up and ready to go. I buy my computer and monitor, hook up my modem, throw the switch, and then sit back waiting for something to happen. And guess what ? Nothing happens! Absolutely nothing. The whole system might be wired and connected perfectly together, but it has no more life in it than a telephone pole or pile of rocks. Why is that? Something must be missing.
In order for all of it to work there must be electricity flowing through the wires! The power must be on. And what is that power? It is the Holy Spirit! God’s spirit is the one thing that enables everything to work. Like the example of the wind In John 3, where Jesus talked about being born from above, the electricity is invisible. But it must be flowing before there can be life or any transfer of information. As Christians, we cannot underestimate the importance of the Holy Spirit. It is our very lifeline to God. The Holy Spirit is the one thing in the universe that links everything together. It is God’s very nature and God’s spirit flowing forth and giving us life. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE VERY MIND OF GOD!!! When we get saved and become Christians, God places His Spirit (or thoughts) within us. We now have a direct pipeline into the Divinity. And we are able to communicate—via the email of prayer— both with Jesus and with His Father, who now is our Father as well. But we can only see the Father through Jesus. With everything properly in place, all the eternal truth on Gods universal wide web (UWW), is now on line and can be downloaded into our spirits and minds.
That is what Jesus meant when he said that without His Father He could do nothing. When the Holy Spirit descended upon Him at His baptism, it was the first time the Father spoke concerning His Son. He had now been given God’s spirit. The link was established. Without the authority of the Father/web and without the electricity/Holy Spirit, Jesus would be no more useful than an old PC buried in a landfill. And we too are equally dead and lifeless without Him. Let us never forget this fact.
When I purchased these items (my computer and monitor) they represented my acceptance of Jesus as my savior and Lord. I believed by faith that if I did this, God would reveal Himself to me. But thank God that He made a way through Jesus. But in order for it to all function properly, I must be filled with God’s electricity, which is the very Spirit and life of God.
The Holy Spirit (in a certain sense) is Indeed a Person
There is no subject in all of scripture more significant and important, than the truth of the Holy Spirit. It is our very link to the life of God. Without God’s Spirit living in us, we are 100% dead. The Holy Spirit encompasses all the personality, intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, and personal feelings of the Godhead. And God communicates all of it to us through His Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the very Mind of God placed inside of each Christian who has been regenerated. In that sense, the Holy Spirit is indeed a "person." The Holy Spirit is the most precious friend we can ever have. We can speak to Him, He speaks to us, He comforts us, exhorts us, directs us, and protects us. But I do not believe that the Holy Spirit is a completely separate entity from God the Son and God the Father. The Bible indicates that the Father and the Son and the Spirit are all One (1 Joh 5:7). And they can and do dwell in us as the sons of God, in like manner as they dwell in Jesus the Son of God.
The Glorious Aspect of All this
What is most blessed and thrilling about God’s whole plan of redemption, is that Jesus came to redeem us (and I say this respectfully and reverently), so that He could make us carbon copies of Himself in order that we too might have the same level of relationship with the Father—as what He experiences (John Chapter 17). That does not necessarily mean that we will someday be equal to Him in all His Divine aspects. But He is now able to call us His brothers.
"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn AMONG MANY BRETHREN" (Romans 8:29).
Throughout the gospels, Jesus refers to His disciples as His brethren. As the creator of the entire universe, Jesus got down and washed the feet of His disciples. As He is God’s only begotten and firstborn son, we are likewise also called "sons of God." We are joint heirs with Him and as his eternal wife to be, will someday inherit all that He inherits (Romans 8:17, Ephesians 2:6, Revelation 22:5).
In fact, I truly believe that as redeemed saints of God, we will experience a joy and relationship of intimacy with our Creator—far above and beyond anything that the angels of heaven ever experienced in past ages. In fact, the Bible indicates to us that certain things have been hidden from the angelic realm, but not from us. This fact is truly amazing.
"Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into" (1 Peter 1:12).
If all that makes us feel important and proud, let us not forget that the only way to glory is through the cross and self denial. And that is not something any of us would by nature want to experience. But Jesus said that unless we do so (take up our cross), and are crucified, buried and resurrected with Him, He will have no part with Him.
John Chapter 17 expresses it in no more glorious and eloquent fashion. In His prayer before going to the cross, Jesus prayed that we would be one with His Father—the same as He once was with the Father in eternity past. He gave His very life in order to bring us to the Father. And the most wonderful thing about all this, is that the very same nature of Father God that resides in Jesus can right now live its life to the fullest in us—if we will but yield ourselves to it and be renewed in the spirit of our minds. The Bible clearly teaches us that with God ALL things are possible (Matthew 19:26). "Nothing shall be impossible" to those who believe (Matthew 17:20). God has given us no limits or boundaries or barriers. The possibilities reach out to infinity.
After all the consequences of the Luciferian rebellion and fall from heaven, Jesus has through sacrifice and redemption, opened up to us a fresh and living way. By accepting Him and partaking of His very own spirit—the spirit of the Father that resided in Jesus Himself—we can now become "PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:4).
What a glorious hope. What a wonderful future. Let us live each moment of our lives in this great and wonderful expectation.
The Bible declares in 1 Timothy 6:16 and John 1:18 that "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared him." The Bible teaches us that Jesus is not only the Son of God, but also the "son of man," (both God and man). And the Bible says that no man hath seen the Father—this proves unequivocally that that God the Father cannot be a conscious living physiological being who can be visibly seen by anybody, including even Jesus. Evidently, Jesus the Son has never visibly seen the Father (in some sort of flesh and bone body). All He can do is to is simply DECLARE Him. This proves that the Father can only be eternal truth, a Living spiritual entity.
We must fully understand the fact that the subject of the eternal Godhead will to some degree always remain a mystery. It is only a mystery because as redeemed men and women, we live in the flesh. We are trying to cross a bridge into a heavenly realm that as of right now, God has not allowed us to come into full knowledge concerning. There are important aspects to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, eternal depths and understanding, that are just too profound for us to fully grasp—this side of heaven. Jesus came for the express purpose of revealing God and to bring us to Him. He is in heaven right now preparing a place for us so that we can live with Him and His/our heavenly Father. He came to make His God our God. He came to show us that God is not some Being to be afraid of, but He really is a loving and affectionate Father. That does not take away one iota from his absolute perfection and holiness and total abhorrence of sin. The point is, God is not out to destroy anyone. He only wants to give us His very best. And through Jesus that fact can be achieved. Hallelujah!
"Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father ..." (1 Corinthians 15:24).
"For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all" (1 Cor 15:27,28).
Part II — Questions and Answers
No doubt the above discourse will raise many questions in the minds of Christians. I will try to address those questions and provide some answers, if possible.
One person who read the original version of the above, stated that I was promoting the idea that Jesus must have created the Father.
In response to the objection, Jesus did not create the Father. Hediscovered the Father. In John 1:18, the text states that "the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." Jesus simply made the Father known. He declared Him. The heavenly Father is eternal principle and cannot be created. Perhaps the following simple illustration will explain.
Take the mathematical equation, 2 + 2 = 4. Did God create this? The answer is no. He discovered a fact. If you take two of something and add it to two of something else you get a total of 4. That is something that cannot be created. No matter how far back one goes into eternity, 2 + 2 has always equals 4. And it will do so throughout the ages to come. The fact that 2 + 2 = 4 is an eternal truth. It cannot be created or destroyed. Every single fact and attribute concerning the Father, is equally the same and indestructible.
Since eternal truth cannot be created, only discovered and revealed, Jesus Himself is subservient to it (as we saw above in 1 Corinthians 15:24). Jesus/Jehovah created the entire universe including all the angelic hosts (Genesis 2:1) according to the Father’s knowledge and will. The angels who rebelled and fell from heaven lost their faith in God because of their stupidity and ignorance. They did not understand these things. They subsequently chose darkness instead of light (Joh 3:19).
Is Jesus a Created Being? Has he always existed as a person?
This may be an impossible question to answer.
Certainly the human aspect or the "man" aspect of Jesus was created. Yet Jesus existed in bodily form long before He was born in Bethlehem (the Theophanies). Most definitely the eternal nature of God, that resides in Jesus/Jehovah was never created. It always has been.
Yet are we to suppose that somehow a spirit of a living being sprung out of nowhere (the first of its kind), and then created the universe. If so, who created it? Did something create this spirit being we now call Jehovah? If something created Jehovah, then that "something" would be God instead of Jehovah.
We really don’t know how the conscious person of Jehovah came into being. The Bible states in John 1:1 that the Word of God (which is Jesus) was in the beginning with God. If that is true, then at some juncture there had to have been a beginning. Perhaps God only uses the term "beginning" so that we can understand better, because we live in a dimension ruled by a thing called time. But the term probably contains something much deeper than just a point in time, because very time itself is a dimension that God Himself created.
Some may go so far as to propose that Jesus/Jehovah was some sort of survivor of some civilization from a past dimension, who somehow survived, destroyed all His enemies and everything before Him, and then started his own universe from scratch and declared Himself as "God"? If that was true, then He would not be the first cause, which would then give us the right to overthrow Him in the same manner and start our own universe (sort of like the endless Mormon concept). No doubt this is what Lucifer/Adam transpired to do in Isaiah chapter 14, verses 13 and 14). But the Bible clearly indicates that Jesus/Jehovah was the very first cause. Nothing apparently ever existed before Him, He is the Alpha and the Omega.
"Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And HE IS BEFORE all things, and by him all things consist" (Colossians 1:15-17).
So how all this came about, is still a mystery. We will probably have to enter into eternity before we will be allowed to fully understand it.
Obviously, any sort of body, either in the physical dimension or spiritual dimension, had to be created and designed at some point. Our physical features, such as face, eyes, ears, nose, hair, hands, feet—all were designed by God sometime in eternity past. Even the bodily form that Jesus exists in, either after or before Bethlehem, had to have been created at some point in time.
Jesus came and was born into this world for one reason—to show us that even though he had all the character and attributes of God residing in His person—no man (as a man) could ever be God. Jesus, as the Creator actually had to become a Created Being (the seed of the woman), in order to show us the proper relationship to God. May this fact forever keep US humble.
And may His precious name be praised forever, "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow" (Phi 2:7).
A Few More Comments
Here is the simple and common definition of the word "God."
God: Is someone who has Sovereignty, and the authority and means to exercise that Sovereignty.
This can apply to anybody in any area of existence. Every person can be sovereign within certain parameters.... All of us are sovereign in many areas of life. Whom you marry, what sort of career you want to pursue, whether or not to have cheerios for breakfast rather than corn flakes, or rice-a-roni on Thursday night instead of beef-a-roni—you are a God in relation to these matters.
The Bible teaches that Jesus is divine and is sovereign as Lord and God. Yet His sovereignty is not unlimited, as He too must submit to the Father (and the eternal principles).
"And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. (9) And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; (10) And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (11)And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; (12) Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing" (Rev 5:8-12).
The key point to this passage is simply this. God does not exercise His right to be God simply because He is God. In other words, God does not demand respect and submission as a person does (even though Jesus could have called twelve legions of angels to deliver him from the cross—He could instantly kill anybody who does not like his supreme authority). He must earn our respect. And that is what the only begotten Son did when He allowed Himself (willingly) to be crucified. And how is that done? Through humility. Jesus earned the right to sit on the throne because of His humility as the Lamb. For that reason we can give him honor and glory—willingly—rather than simply because God demands submissive worship irregardless. No one has the right to demand worship, and even God Himself does not do that (as most everybody living on planet earth REFUSES to worship Him). All worship must come from the worshippers out of a willing heart. God does not force anybody to love Him. The kingdom of God is WITHIN us (Luk 17:21), not some future thousand year reign of Christ upon earth.
When Jesus went to the cross, He passed by that authority and instead died on the cross alone for you and me. And that is why this love on His part deserves and should receive my ultimate adoration and worship. As God He stepped down off the throne to show kindness to one who did not in the least deserve that kindness.
You and me.